Lessons from retreat
“How do you get your work done while you’re travelling?”
This is a question I’ve been hearing a lot recently. Six weeks ago I moved from my apartment into a van, and started driving around Europe.
I’m not exactly on holiday though — I still need to keep up with my work and other commitments.
Every day is different, so the same routine doesn’t fit over and over again. But still, the essential elements can be separated down into recognisable chunks:
‘looking after myself’ stuff: eating, stretching, enjoying the scenery (etc)
outwardly practical stuff: driving, tidying my space, grocery shopping (etc)
work stuff: writing, admin, communicating with my clients (etc)
Everything needs to be done regularly, but different things may take priority at different times.
For example, during my first week on the road, I had to do quite a lot of driving. That meant that I needed to follow that up with a few days where I really focused on stretching and yoga to loosen up my body! Then I had a large and time-sensitive job come thru, so I took some time to settle in one place and not worry about driving or enjoying the scenery.
There might be some fluctuation in the day-to-day structure, but over time a rhythm emerges and brings everything into balance.
I’ve learned a lot about finding and keeping this rhythm from the writing retreats.
Before I first attended a retreat led by Rowena Murray, I tended to think about my day as a long to-do list (and the self-care stuff was not usually included!). I’d start from one end of my list, and push headlong and see how far I got.
Now that I’ve participated and led retreats myself, I see how much I’ve really absorbed the structural lessons into my daily life.
So, how do I get my work done while travelling?
The same way I would at home or in the office!
I look at the day as a collection of small blocks, which can be mix-and-matched depending on priorities and situations. Start with a practical block, follow it with some work, then some self-care... repeat, repeat, re-arranging the order as needed.
Sound like something that could work for you too?
I’ll be back in Helsinki to lead the next writing retreat at the end of May. We’ll be a small group, and together we’ll write, eat, converse, do yoga and learn new practices that will benefit us long beyond the retreat itself.
Early bird registration is open till the end of April. Join me for 2,5 days of focused writing at Hotel Rantapuisto, with the meals and self-care built in to the schedule!
The retreat format works for any kind of writing project — big or small, fact or fiction, passion or duty.
Best wishes and happy writing!